Earlier this year I read Jane Lovering’s debut novel with Choc Lit called Please Don’t Stop The Music. I absolutely loved it. It was such a refreshing read and I loved the fact the characters weren’t perfect, that they had their flaws, and their troubles and I loved the plot and loved the entire book. I was over the moon when I read Jane would be releasing a second novel this year titled Starstruck. I thought it sounded like quite a unique read and I adored the cover – showing the vast Nevada desert, and a pink convertible. I couldn’t wait to get stuck in and, thankfully, Starstruck was just as enjoyable as Please Don’t Stop The Music.
I love books set in Nevada. Well, actually, I love books set in Vegas. I’ve never actually read a book set anywhere else in Nevada, but I found it a welcome relief that Starstruck shied away from the glitz and glamour of Vegas and instead focused on the wide landscapes of Nevada itself. It made more sense, actually, and the subtle setting helped alleviate the characters more. I must admit, when I heard the book was set around a TV convention for Fallen Skies (I almost typed ‘Falling Skies’, for the new US show!) I was a bit worried it would be all Doctor Who-y, with everyone there being all kinds of nerds and geeks and the like. (I am nothing, if not, a big sterotypical person.) Thankfully that isn’t the case and although there are costumes involved(!), it’s nothing as bad as I expected it to be. That sounds awful, actually, expecting a convention to be bad, but… I think you know what I mean. Right? Either way, the convention wasn’t a big coming together of geeks and nerds. Not in the Doctor Who sense, anyway.
Much like Please Don’t Stop The Music, Starstruck’s two main characters – three main characters, in fact, are incredibly flawed. There’s Skye, who lost her best friend and her fiance in a car crash that also wiped her memories and left her with a horrible scar on her face; there’s Felix, her bed-hopping best friend and other sole survivor of the horror smash; and then there’s Jack, TV writer for Fallen Skies with his own demons to battle and face. A lot if kept secret from the reader, sadly. As is the case, all secrets about the main characters must be kept until 20 pages from the end. With numerous hints through-out, that all was not as it seemed, that they had these big massive things to keep hidden, etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why the secrets must be kept, but I think the novel could have opened up a lot more than it did. A lot was left unsaid, if you will, as once it all came out, there were only a few pages left to wrap it all up. I didn’t necessarily feel as if the full weight of all of these massive secrets was dealt with, particularly everything Felix came out with. It was a brilliant book, but I think it could have been even better if it had dealt with the secrets a bit sooner, to allow a bit more fall-out.
Despite the screwed-up nature of Skye, Felix and Jack, I found myself riveted by them; by their secrets. (Despite my complaints, a good secret does rather keep you reading and it wasn’t the secrets I had a problem with, more the fall-out.) In most Chick Lit novels the heroines do have some flaws, but it’s never anything terrible, never anything that would make me gasp. It’s usually pretty basic stuff, really. But Jane Lovering isn’t afraid to make Skye, Felix and Jack real, proper people, with the kind of problems and issues you only usually read about in Take a Break (or Pick Me Up/Chat/That’s Life, whatever your magazine of choice is!). Jane truly brings all of her characters to life and despite all their hesitancy to be honest, I liked Skye, Felix and Jack. Wanted to know more about them, wanted to follow their lives forever and I found myself entranced by them. Sure, they’re screwed up. Sure they’re not Chick-Lit-cookie-cutter perfect, but they’re very, very real.
Starstruck was a brilliant novel and despite my wanting more of a fall-out, I still think the novel was brilliant. I felt that once I got going and once the novel really kicked in that I struggled to put it down. I just wanted to read one more chapter, one more chapter, one more chapter. It was highly addictive and it was a thoroughly enjoyable read, with tons of drama (proper drama) and action and emotion. I could feel all the characters’ pain, and as the novel hurtled to its conclusion, I did wonder just what big secret was going to be unveiled next! What hit our characters would take, but despite all the secrets, it didn’t seem outlandish in any way, it was all very natural. Jane Lovering is an excellent new Chick Lit author. She’s found herself a nice niche and I can’t wait for her third Choc Lit novel, and hopefully one will be forthcoming because Jane Lovering is a brilliant author and to not have a new novel from her soon would be a crying shame!